Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Work resumes to find remains of 'Disappeared' IRA victim

Work to locate the remains of a man abducted, murdered and secretly buried during Northern Ireland's Troubles will continue in the Irish Republic today.

South Armagh man Gerard Evans, one of the Disappeared IRA victims, was last seen alive in March 1979.

It is suspected the 24-year-old was killed and dumped in bogland at Carrickrobin, Co Louth.

The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains (ICLVR) said it was returning to the site to continue its work to try to locate the remains of Mr Evans.

Earlier this year a geological survey was carried out on the farmland, two miles from Hackballscross, and drainage systems put in.

Diggers have also moved on to the site.

A spokesman for the Commission said the excavation could last for a considerable time.

Recent heavy rain fall could also hinder the search.

There are now 14 Disappeared - people who were abducted, murdered and secretly buried by republicans.

A total of five of them, Eamon Molloy, Brian McKinney, John McClory, Jean McConville and Danny McIlhone, have been found.

The partial remains of Mr McIlhone were uncovered last November in bogland at Ballynultagh, near the village of Lacken in the Wicklow Mountains, in the Irish Republic.

Nearly three decades after the then 21-year-old west Belfast man was abducted and killed in May 1981, a inquest ruled his death was an unlawful killing.

He had been shot a number of times before being buried in a secret grave on a remote mountainside.

The IRA admitted in 1999 that it murdered and buried nine of the victims - Seamus Wright, Kevin McKee, Ms McConville, Columba McVeigh, Brendan Megraw, Mr McClory, Mr McKinney, Mr Molloy and Mr McIlhone - in secret locations.

Others who vanished during the conflict include Mr Evans, Charles Armstrong, Robert Nairac - who are also thought to have been murdered by the IRA - and Seamus Ruddy, who disappeared in France and whose murder was admitted by the splinter republican group the Irish National Liberation Army.

Excavations and surveys are also being carried out at Colgagh, Co Monaghan, for the remains of Charlie Armstrong; at Coghalstown, Co Meath, for Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee; and at Oristown, Co Meath, for Brendan Megraw.

It is understood a search for IRA victim Columba McVeigh at Bragan, Co Monaghan, is also nearing an end.

Meanwhile earlier this month it emerged west Belfast man Peter Wilson, 21, who vanished from his home in 1973, may have become the latest IRA abduction victim.

A senior republican source, however, has since denied the organisation was involved in his disappearance.

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